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Research Associate (Fixed Term)

Applications are invited for a Post-doctoral Research Associate position working in the groups of Dr Giles Oldroyd and Dr Sebastian Ahnert at the Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University, to define the transcriptional networks that govern symbiotic associations of Medicago truncatula. The successful candidate will undertake research aimed at gaining a detailed understanding of the transcriptional networks and the proteins that govern them during the early establishment of nitrogen-fixing bacterial associations and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal associations. This work will occur hand-in-hand with attempts to modify these transcriptional networks in barley and maize to facilitate the engineering of nitrogen-fixing cereals.

The successful candidate will be required to identify, develop and apply a broad range of techniques to pursue the research objectives whilst drafting scientific papers, and contributing to the overall preparation of research for publication.

Applicants must have, or be close to obtaining, a PhD in Plant Biology, Informatics, Biochemistry, Genetics or a related field, alongside an element of creativity and initiative to develop novel approaches and methods. Experience with informatics, statistics and expression profiling are essential.

Candidates must have advanced knowledge of and experience in the following areas: (1) RNA purification and (2) large-scale sequence data analysis. Knowledge in the area of transcriptional network analysis and the molecular mechanisms governing the establishment of symbiotic associations in legumes would be advantageous.

The post holder will present scientific work at seminars within the Laboratory, contributing to Laboratory-wide discussions on developments within the field, as well as external meetings. The candidate will also be required to contribute to the smooth running of the group and training of students and other group members.

Good communication skills are essential, as the post holder will need to present data to other members of the group, external collaborators and sponsor agencies. Candidates will also need to be able to work well in a team.

The Laboratory provides a welcoming and collaborative environment with a wide range of family-friendly benefits and development opportunities.

  • Salary £31,604-£38,833
  • Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3 years in the first instance.
  • Please quote reference PT13985 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.
  • Further information is available here.
  • Closing date: 13 December 2017
  • The post is available from January 2018.
  • To apply online, please use this link.
  • Please ensure that you upload a copy of your full CV with a list of publications, a covering letter highlighting your suitability for the position and contact information of three referees.


The Sainsbury Laboratory receives a high volume of applications. If you have not heard from us within three weeks of the closing date, please consider your application as unsuccessful on this occasion.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

PhD applicants

Please contact Group Leaders to find out about any study opportunities at the Sainsbury Laboratory.  SLCU also participates in the BBSRC DTP programme. Further details are available here.